Compared to other European countries, the number of billionaires from Scandinavia is manageable, as the billionaire ranking of the US business magazine Forbes shows. While Sweden, with 31 super-rich, is only just behind other European countries such as Italy or France, Finland and Denmark only have single-digit numbers. Norway has twelve billionaires.
However, a look at the wealth of the richest Scandinavians shows that they are in no way inferior to their European neighbors. The 57 billionaires in the region weighed almost 187 billion US dollars in early July. Here too, the lion’s share – around US $ 106.6 billion – comes from Sweden.
Despite the Swedish dominance, some other Scandinavians are also among the richest in the region. At the top are entrepreneurs who stand for well-known brands and products. Compared to the Forbes ranking of the previous year, some of those placed were able to maintain their position in 2020. However, some new faces have mixed in with the richest ten.
These are the richest Scandinavians in 2020
In 1965, EF founder Bertil Hult started the first language trip for 33 students and two teachers to the south of England. Since then, the former “European Holiday School” from Stockholm has grown into a group of companies with more than 600 offices in 114 countries. The name has changed: the company is now called “Education First”. In 2008, Hult retired from operational business, and his sons are now running the company. Forbes estimates the Swede’s net worth at $ 5 billion. Hult is also involved outside the company: Among other things, he is a sponsor of the “Hult Prize” for young prospective founders.
# 9 Antonia Axson Johnson
For almost 40 years, Antonia Axson Johnson has headed the Axel Johnson Group, which is active in retail in Sweden and other European countries. In 1982 she took over the business from her father. Axson Johnson handed over the chairmanship to her daughter in 2015, but she is still part of the board of directors and owner of the company. Her net worth is $ 5.1 billion, according to Forbes. In her home country she ranks second among the richest Swedes, in a regional comparison it is ninth.
# 8 Melker Schörling and family
In 1987 Melker Schörling became CEO of the Swedish security group Securitas. In 1999 he founded his own investment company and went public seven years later. According to Forbes, Melker Schörling Investment holds shares in the locking system manufacturer Assa Abloy and in Hexagon AB, a Swedish group for measurement technology and software. In 2017, Schörling retired from his management positions and handed over the offices to his daughters. The family’s net worth is $ 5.6 billion, according to Forbes. In addition, Schörling is one of the largest property owners in Sweden.
@imago images / ITAR-TASS
# 7 Frederik Paulsen
When Frederik Paulsen (picture, right) took over his father’s pharmaceutical company in 1983, today’s Ferring group was still in its infancy. Almost 40 years later, the annual turnover of 15 million US dollars has grown to 2.2 billion US dollars. Ferring now employs 6,500 people in almost 60 countries. Ferring actually comes from Sweden, but today the company is based in Switzerland – with Frederik Paulsen as Chairman of the Board. His net worth is $ 5.8 billion, according to Forbes.
@imago images / Ritzau Scanpix
# 6 Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and family
Four family members share sixth place in the ranking of the richest Scandinavians. We are talking about the owners of the iconic toy Lego. The long-time Lego boss Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen shares around 75 percent of the company shares with his three children Thomas, Sofie and Agnete. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen retired from the company in April 2019. His son Thomas is Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors. In addition to the toy manufacturer, the family also holds shares in the operator of the Legoland theme park and invests in wind parks and real estate. Her net worth is $ 6.1 billion.
# 5 Niels Louis-Hansen
With Niels Louis-Hansen, another Dane is one of the ten richest Scandinavians. Louis-Hansen is the deputy chairman of the medical technology manufacturer Coloplast and the majority owner with a fifth of the company’s shares. His father founded the company in 1957. Louis-Hansen also holds shares in the medical technology manufacturer Ambu. His net worth amounts to $ 7.4 billion. While it is enough for fifth place in the ranking of the richest billionaires in the region, Louis-Hansen is second in Denmark.
@imago images / Ritzau Scanpix
# 4 Anders Holch Polvsen
In Denmark he is the richest billionaire, in all of Scandinavia it is enough for fourth place. Anders Holch Povlsen owes his fortune largely to the fashion industry. At the age of 28 he took over the family company Beststeller, which is best known for brands such as Jack & Jones, Only and Vero Moda. Holch Povlsen is also involved in the online business as a shareholder in Asos and Zalando. There are also shares in the online payment service Klarna and in the online grocery store Nemlig. Povlsen gained notoriety when three of his four children were killed in a terrorist attack on Sri Lanka last year. Povlsen’s net worth is $ 8 billion.
# 3 & 2 Jörn, Finn and Kirsten Rausing
After the Lego owners, a Swedish family also makes it into the richest in Scandinavia. The Rausing family is best known in Germany for the products from their packaging company Tetra Pak, which is now part of the Tetra Laval Group. The grandchildren of company founder Ruben Rausing, Jörn Finn and Kirsten, are all on the Tetra Lavel board of directors. Together, the siblings also hold shares in the New York company International Flavors & Fragrances, which produces fragrances and flavorings. Jörn Rausing is involved in the online grocer Ocado. His net worth at $ 10.3 billion is therefore slightly higher than that of his two siblings, who come to $ 9.1 billion.
# 1 Stefan Persson
Scandinavia and Sweden’s richest billionaire is again this year Stefan Persson, long-time CEO of the Swedish fashion group H&M. In January Persson resigned from his position as chairman of the board. His son, Karl-Johann, succeeded him and gave up the CEO position, which he had held since 2009. Even after his resignation, Stefan Persson remains the largest single shareholder in the fashion group – with more than a third of the company’s shares. His net worth is $ 13.5 billion.